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Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Friday, April 3, 2009

Finally, a little honesty about the so-called drug war


A police officer walks on packages of cocaine in Buenaventura, Colombia's main seaport on the Pacific coast, Monday, March 23, 2009. Colombian police had seized 3.5 tons of cocaine in a container of vegetable grease bound for Mexico. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

-Nearly 6 in 10 persons in state prison for a drug offense have no history of violence or high-level drug selling activity;
--African Americans comprise 14% of regular drug users, but are 37% of those arrested for drug offenses and 56% of persons in state prison for drug offenses;
--African Americans serve almost as much time in federal prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months), largely due to racially disparate
sentencing laws such as the 100-to-1 crack-powder cocaine disparity."
--The Sentencing Project: "A 25-Year Quagmire: The War On Drugs And Its Impact on American Society."

Listen up. Today, the daddy is feeling an article by David Sirota, a well- known blogger and journalist. His post is about the phony U.S. "drug war." Now, the daddy has always believed that this so-called "war on drugs" was nothing more than a cover for arming and supporting right-wing governments and death squads in Latin America and an excuse to throw black males (and now hispanics) in jail rather than treat them. But Sirota thinks that some people in the U.S. government are waking up to the reality that this phony drug war is costly and is working against America's interest as a whole. It has not reduced demand and, more importantly, it is helping to fuel a real drug war among Mexican drug cartels below the border that is now spilling over into the United States. Check it out.
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Finally, a little honesty by David Sirota

Finally, after America has frittered away billions of taxpayers dollars arming Latin American death squads, airdropping toxic herbicide on equatorial farmland and incarcerating more of its own citizens on nonviolent drug charges than an y other industrialized nation, two political leaders last week tried to begin taming the most wildly out-of-control beast in the government zoo: federal narcotics policy.

It started with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stating an embarrassingly obvious truth that politicians almost never discuss. In a speech about rising violence in Mexico, she said, “Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade,” and then added that “we have co-responsibility” for the cartel-driven carnage plaguing our southern border.

She’s right, of course. For all the Rambo-ish talk about waging a “war on drugs” that interdicts the supply of narcotics, we have not diminished demand—specifically, the demand for marijuana that cartels base their business on.

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Americans spend about $9 billion a year on Mexican pot.

Add that to the roughly $36 billion worth of domestically produced weed, and cannabis has become one of the continent’s biggest cash crops. As any mob movie illustrates, mixing such “insatiable” demand for a product with statutes outlawing said product guarantees the emergence of a violent black market—in this case, one in which Mexican drug cartels reap 62 percent of their profits from U.S. marijuana sales.

That last stat, provided by the White House drug czar, is the silver lining. Every American concerned about Mexico’s security problems should be thankful that the cartels are so dependent on marijuana, and not a genuinely hazardous substance like heroin. Why? Because that means through pot legalization we can bring the marijuana trade out of the shadows and into the safety of the regulated economy, consequently eliminating the black market the cartels rely on. And here’s the best part: We can do so without fearing any more negative consequences than we already tolerate in our keg-party culture.

Though President Obama childishly laughed at a question about legalization during his recent town hall meeting, his government implicitly admits that marijuana is safer than light beer. Indeed, as federal agencies acknowledge alcohol’s key role in deadly illnesses and domestic violence, their latest anti-pot fear-mongering is an ad campaign insisting—I kid you not—that marijuana is dangerous because it makes people zone out on their couches and diminishes video gaming skills.

(This is your government on drugs: Cirrhosis and angry tank-topped lushes beating their wives are more acceptable risks than stoners sitting in their basements ineptly playing Halo ... any questions?).

Despite this idiocy, despite polls showing that most Americans support some form of legalization, and despite such legalization promising to generate billions of dollars in tax revenue, Clinton only acknowledged the uncomfortable reality about demand. That’s certainly no small step, but she did not address drug policy reform. Confronting that taboo subject was left to Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.

Last week, this first-term lawmaker proposed creating a federal commission to examine potential changes to the prison system, including a relaxation of marijuana statutes.

Webb hails from a conservative-leaning swing state whose criminal justice laws are among the nation’s most draconian, so there’s about as much personal political upside for him in this fight as there is for Clinton—that is to say, almost none. That isn’t stopping him, though.

“The elephant in the bedroom in many discussions on the criminal justice system is the sharp increase in drug incarceration,” he said in a speech, later telling The Huffington Post that pot legalization “should be on the table.”

Finally, a little honesty—and now, maybe, some action.

David Sirota is the best-selling author of the books “Hostile Takeover” (2006) and “The Uprising” (2008). He is a fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future. Find his blog at OpenLeft.com or e-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now that last one on Marvin Gaye was good. Are you going to do some more of that and some poetry?

RiPPa said...

This all falls under the arm of militarism that has been an ongoing agenda since the 80's in this country. I read an article written by a friend of mine on CQPolitics.com that said that some states (Ohio in particular) are considering releasing non-violent criminals (mostly drug offenders)because of the cost of housing them. Finally, this bad econom,y has been good for something.

MacDaddy said...

Rippa: Interesting perspective. Hey, I'm coming to see you over at your blog At the intersection of Madness and Reality. Blessings.

MadMike said...

The fact is that many states are seriously considering [and some have already done so] releasing low risk offenders from penitentiaries so as to make room for more dangerous offenders. There was a time when they simply built new prisons but that money tree has dried up so they have to start thinking of other ways to open up those beds.

I can say with a relative degree of certainty that poverty more often than not drives drug addiction and abuse. Those who live in poverty are more apt to be arrested, tried, and convicted than those who live middle class or above life styles. The criminal justice system is now, and has always been all about the wallet.

I spent many years on the front lines of the so-called war on drugs and I can guarantee it is an abysmal failure. It simply creates more victims and it needs to be abolished. Drugs should then be legalized, regulated, and taxed. I warrant we will see that huge deficit drop like a rock.

MacDaddy said...

Madmike: No one could have said it better. Question: Are you worried about the real war among drug cartels and its danger of spilling over into the U.S.? I'm very worried about their ability to bring drugs into this country and use high-powered guns they purchase in the U.S. and committing violence on our borders and in the U.S. itself. What's your take?

SagaciousHillbilly said...

This is good information to get out there Daddy. I've blogged about this before and will do so again soon.
The disparity in sentencing, bail amounts, etc. is absurd and can be attributed to nothing but blatant racism.
Hopefully, our new president will get time at some point soon to review federal sentencing guidelines, unjust coke vs. crack laws, etc.

Robbie said...

I've always been a little skeptical about this "War on Drugs" from the beginning. Based on who's using in my neighborhood I think we lost it.

Mac, I've started a second blog as of today. Drop on by if you can.

MacDaddy said...

Robbie: The drug consumption in this country is definitely off the charts. That's why the drug cartels are fighting each other: to see who can take charge of the drug market to the U.S.

I'm coming to see you at your new blog.

Beach Bum said...

For years all I heard on television from the pundits and politicians about drugs and crime was that we needed to build more prisons. We have built so many prisons that we have the largest prison population in the world.
Maybe with the early releases of non-violent offenders we just might start looking at solving the problem instead of creating a bigger one by continually packing people into prisons creating and ever bigger human time bomb.

MadMike said...

I am very worried about the "real" drug war MacD. This is a dangerous and volatile situation that has already spilled into the U.S. It is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.